Fuji-bound hikers face summer fees

JIJI

Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures will collect entrance fees from people seeking to climb Mount Fuji on a trial basis this summer.

Yamanashi Gov. Shomei Yokouchi told reporters Wednesday in the town of Fujikawaguchiko that the prefecture “wants to move toward a trial this summer with the consent of relevant parties.”

Earlier in the day, Yokouchi won backing for the trial fee system from the heads of six Yamanashi municipalities at the northern foot of Mount Fuji, which is certain to be registered as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site.

Shizuoka Prefecture, located on the other side of the volcano, already has expressed willingness to collect fees on a trial basis this summer.

Yamanashi was initially unwilling to start the fees this summer, although the two prefectures had officially agreed to start collecting entrance fees in summer 2014.

Now that Yokouchi has clarified that Yamanashi will join the trial project, the two prefectures will collect fees on all major climbing trails on the 3,776-meter peak.

The prefectures will hold their first joint expert panel meeting Friday in Tokyo to finalize the details of the fee system, including the amount to be charged.

Mountain accidents set record of 1,988 in 2012

Kyodo

2012 saw a record 1,988 mountain accidents involving a record 2,465 people, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The numbers represent year-on-year increases of 158 cases and 261 people, the NPA said. It has been keeping such statistics since 1961.

The accidents left 284 people dead or missing, up by nine from the year before and the third-largest on record, the agency said.

Climbers aged 60 or over accounted for 1,227 of the climbers involved in the accidents, with the number of fatalities among the group coming to 194.